Keys and Sascha show first, titles elsewhere for Makarova, Querrey & Kohlschreiber!

The US Open Series is really starting to warm up and Madison Keys got off to a flyer in Stanford.  The third seed dropped the opening set to Caroline Dolehide in her opener but then went the remainder of the week without so much as a minor hiccup! Defeating top seed Garbine Muguruza 3 and 2 and Coco Vandeweghe 7/6(4) 6/4 in the final showed the serve and forehand were winning plenty of quick, sharp points.  Like last week in Atlanta where the American males went well, the females can say the same this week. Vandeweghe had torn her way through to the final with victories over Pavlyuchenkova and  CiCi Bellis in the semi’s, Bellis had already walloped Petra Kvitova 6/2 6/0 in the previous round. The 18-year-old continues to make good progress despite defeat to Coco! Maria Sharapova withdrew from her second round match with Lesia Tsurenko with a left forearm injury, that has also seen her withdraw from Toronto this week, worrying times for the Russian!

Ekaterina Makarova won WTA Washington, she knocked out top seed Simona Halep who withdrew in the decider with an illness. The Russian beat Julia Goerges in the final, Goerges actually served for this in the second, Makarova dug deep though and dominated the decider. Second seed Kristina Mladenovic lost to 17-year-old Canadian Bianca Andreescu but Mladenovic doesn’t look fit right now, there was an abductor injury the previous round here. Andrea Petkovic made the semi’s here, losing a tight one to compatriot Goerges! From what I can see it was Petkovic’s first main tour semi since Doha in February last year, such has been the injuries and battles that she has faced.

Sascha Zverev really upped his form as the week progressed in Washington. After only just seeing off Jordan Thompson in a final set breaker and Tennys Sandgren in two tight sets he then brought his A Game to the board thereafter. Impressive victories over Daniil Medvedev, Kei Nishikori and Kevin Anderson in the last 3 rounds with the serve being particularly prominent. It is clear Sascha has that ability to up his level during a tournament, now it’s just waiting for the right time in a big one! Though Kev Anderson lost in the final to the German it was a top week for the South African. He somehow managed to come back from the brink against top seed Dominic Thiem, showing decent mental strength in closing it out after Thiem unusually let his opponent back in! Jack Sock also had a good week which ended in disappointment, beating Milos Raonic on his way to the semi-final defeat by Anderson. Sock will be narked with his performance against The South African, he never really got going. Tommy Paul also deserves a mention here after some good results of late. The American made the semi’s of the Winnetka Challenger and the quarter’s of Atlanta last week after making it through qualies. The 20-year-old also made the quarter’s this week in Washington beating Lucas Pouille and over-turning the Atlanta defeat to Gilles Muller, Nishikori only just edged him out in 3!

Sam Querrey, another American in good nick, won Los Cabos in Mexico. He beat Thanasi Kokkinakis in the final, the Australian showing what he has to offer again this week. Querrey has won two tour titles in Mexico this year and has been in decent form all summer. His current level made him the man to beat here, despite Tomas Berdych being the top seed. The American’s level was just simply superior in Mexico and that was enough. Berdych lost to Kokkinakis who deserves this run for his efforts. He has stuck with the game of late and finally got his reward with a place in his first main tour final. Flashing forehand winners being the trademark of the week for him.

Finally, Philipp Kohlschreiber won the only remaining event outside of America, on the European Clay in Kitzbuhel. He beat Joao Sousa in the final after dismissing Fabio Fognini in the semis. Kohlschreiber actually resides in Kitzbuhel. so it’s apparently his adopted second home. Top seed Pablo Cuevas lost to Sebastian Ofner. The Austrian eventually making the semi’s here, backing up his run at SW19, it’s certainly been a good spell for the 21-year-old. I have also discovered his coach is Wolfgang Thiem, Dominic’s father.

Andy Del Potro

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